This book presents a thorough critical examination of the European regulatory reaction to technological convergence, tracing the explicit and implicit mechanisms through which emerging concerns are incorporated into regulation and competition law, and then goes on to identify the patterns that underlie these responses so as to establish the extent to which the issues at stake, and the implications of intervention, are fully understood and considered by authorities. Focusing on ‘conflict points’ – areas of tension inevitably arising among overlapping regimes – the analysis covers such elements as the following :
the provision of ‘multiple-play’ services ; the advent of ‘convergent devices’ ; the interchangeability of transmission networks ; subscription-based (‘pay television’) services ; the diversification of television services (such as on-demand and niche-theme channels) ; the relative scarcity of (premium) content ; the ‘migration’ of television content with cultural and social relevance to pay television ; and the emergence of ‘bottleneck’ segments in the communications value chain. Endorsing the adjustment of existing rules to meet pluralist objectives, the author outlines a single, coherent regulatory approach. He shows how a careful analysis of the implications of technological convergence helps to solve conflicts between regimes. Specifically, the analysis addresses the level – national or EU – at which particular regulatory responses should emerge, the objectives guiding action, and the tools through which these objectives may be pursued. These conclusions command the attention of policymakers, regulators, and lawyers active in the ongoing development of communications law.
With a foreword by Joaquín Almunia.